Ryan Zunker ’20, Crystal Hernandez ’20, Yumi Yasumoto ’19 and Yuka Kawata ’20 started the Japanese Cultural Club at the College. According to Zunker, the treasurer, the main purpose of starting the club was to create a place for the student body to discuss aspects of the Japanese culture to combat the essentialism of the Japanese culture, whereby it is seen as a monolithic culture that focuses on the production of anime media.
A member of the club, Carmen Cruz ’20, said, “There is an Asian studies group on campus, but to have a select group, such as the Japanese cultural club. is really important for people to learn more about the culture and to try out something new.”
Another member, Fernand Qvyjt ’20, stated that he joined the club because he wanted to find out more about Japan since he has, “always watched anime” and listened to various Japanese music genres.
The executive board members of the club aim to raise more awareness about Japan’s rich history, literature, culture, and traditions through discussions and activities. Kawata, the club president, is particularly excited about sharing the “Seijin Shiki” ceremony, which is the Coming of Age day that marks adulthood in Japan.
It will be a big event for her, since she will wear her Kimono cultural outfit to celebrate her 20th birthday, which is the legal age in Japan. The executive board members usually start the sessions with icebreakers, such as presenting a “Japanese word of the day” to expand the members’ knowledge of the language.
The members of the club get a chance to try out Japanese dishes during some of the sessions. During the first meeting, they taught people how to eat sushi properly. Zunker said they would also like to expand “people’s horizon of Japanese food” by serving various dishes such as nigiri sushi, norimaki sushi, and California rolls.
Club member Yessenia Alvarado Vasquez ’20 enjoyed the Japanese mochi ice cream she had during the first session, commenting that “it tasted like a fruit ball made out of a burst of ice cream filling.”
The club members meet every week on Tuesdays from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Pierson Room A. They are planning to have a Japanese movie night on Friday, April 28. Anyone who is interested in receiving more information about the club should search for “The Japanese Cultural Club – JCC” page on Facebook.